2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News December 2017

From simple to technical and from inexpensive to plush, these ideas make for a great present for anyone on your list.

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Whether you begin holiday shopping the second retailers start putting out snowmen and candy cane decorations, camp out for Black Friday or wait until the last minute, there’s always that person on your list for whom you can’t seem to find the right gift. It’s frustrating when you don’t know where to look or even where to start, let alone dealing with crowded malls and stores. PN can offer a helping hand with the question of what to get someone and maybe even help keep you from having to make a trip to the mall. These gifts were chosen with the wheelchair user in mind. They range in price and help make life a little easier or just a little more fun and enjoyable. Who knows, you might even find something for yourself.

Warmth On Demand

Whether you’re active or just sitting and enjoying the scenery, being outside this time of year can get chilly. But a new type of athletic pullover is offering to warm you up at the push of a button. Polar Seal tops feature an integrated heating element that can warm you up in about 10 seconds at the touch of a button on a sleeve. The tops have three power levels and heating zones for the upper back, lower back and/or both. Those levels and areas are controlled from rubber, LED-lit, shock-proof and waterproof buttons on the wrist. Available in both men’s and women’s sizes, the quarter-zip tops can be powered by a 5V compact USB power bank. Depending on the power level chosen and the amount of areas heated, you can stay toasty for four to eight hours. The maximum temperature reached on the surface of each heating element is 122 degrees, and it is limited by a controlling thermostat.

A Portable Workout

It can be tough to find time for a workout when you’re busy at work, traveling or just have too much on your plate, but a portable device from a California company is showing it’s possible to get a good, low-impact and even fun workout anywhere you go. The Activ5 from Activbody is a first-of-its-kind, wireless-enabled, isometric-based strength-training device that uses a smartphone application (app) to coach you through a five-minute, full-body workout. Looking similar to an oval hockey puck, Activ5 uses games to engross you in dozens of specially designed isometric exercises in more than 100 workouts. The games generally require you to use alternating amounts of pressure to play and exercise at the same time. Using varied amounts of force makes a figure jump from place to place in a game called Rock Jumper or makes a colored cursor reach selected targets in a game named Color Dash.

Take Control

Smartphones, tablets and other technologies continue to help improve life for people with disabilities, but all those devices can be tough to manage for people with limited upper-body mobility. Two devices are offering to help with that issue. The Tecla Shield and Tecla-e are cloud-connected assistive devices that provide control of your smart devices. You plug whatever system is used to control your chair, such as sip-n-puff or joystick, into the device. The device then can relay commands to smartphones, tablets, home systems and more via Bluetooth using the same controls used to drive the wheelchair. You’re able to assign various commands for your smart devices to your wheelchair driving controls or other switches. You can send and receive emails or text messages, browse the web, use your favorite applications, change the TV channel, adjust the room’s temperature, make a phone call and more. The devices are compatible with both Apple and Android operating systems. The Tecla Shield can pair with only one device at a time, while the Tecla-e can pair with up to eight Bluetooth devices.

Sweet Dreams

Most people will appreciate a good set of bed sheets, but Dermatherapy therapeutic linens can also help your skin — and they have science to back them up. They are the first and only sheets approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a Class 1 medical device for pressure sores, atopic dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. The fabric is 50% polyester and 50% nylon, and clinical trials have shown that the sheets help reduce the likelihood of patients developing pressure ulcers by reducing moisture, heat, friction and shear on the patient’s skin. Wash after wash, the bedding is said to retain its lint-free silkiness, stain resistance and hypoallergenic properties. Sheet sets come in four colors (ivory, soft mint, glacier blue and dove gray) and are available in sizes from twin to California king.

Cup O’ Joe

Forget the big coffee companies. You can get your jolt of java and support veterans at the same time. Ricks Roasters Coffee Company, located in Stafford, Va., is owned by Navy veteran Sean Ricks and his wife, Keely. This specialty coffee roaster carries various single-origin and blended coffees, including several that are veteran-centric and benefit various veterans’ charities. Three coffees benefit Camp Valor Outdoors, which seeks to recognize and honor ill, injured and wounded members of the military (active duty, retired and veterans) and their families through adaptive and competitive activities. Three coffees are Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)-focused and benefit the National EOD Association, in honor of Sean’s brother, Danny Ricks, who is Navy EOD. One coffee is a Marine Recon-focused coffee and benefits Recon Wounded Warriors.

Nice Threads

Help your friends and loved ones show off their patriotic pride with apparel from Oscar Mike or Section 1776. Not only will you get a cool shirt, but you’ll also be giving back to those who’ve served their country. Oscar Mike, which is military radio jargon for “on the move,” is a military-themed apparel company founded by Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) member and Marine Corps veteran Noah Currier. All of Oscar Mike’s products are American-made, and 100% of proceeds from apparel sales go to help rehabilitate injured veterans through adaptive sporting events. Oscar Mike even carries a line of PVA-inspired gear that can be found at The gear also is available at Field & Stream and at Dick’s Sporting Goods stores. Likewise, Section 1776 is a veteran-owned, American-made apparel company, and a portion of proceeds go to Team Rubicon, a veteran-founded, civilian volunteer network that responds to and helps with disaster relief. The Section 1776 logo is derived from the American flag, with 1776 standing for the year the United States declared independence. To join the “Section Nation,” visit



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2017 Holiday Gift Guide


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